My Predictions for the 2016 Baseball Season

CubsI admit it. I’m nervous.

Today is the official opening day of the baseball season (There were three games yesterday, but for some reason, that wasn’t opening day), and for the first time in my life, the Chicago Cubs are the prohibitive favorites to win the World Series. Why does that make me nervous?

First, this is unfamiliar territory. For as long as I can remember, the Cubs were baseball’s lovable losers. Nobody ever expected much out of the team. After all, the Cubs have only had eighteen winning seasons since they were last in the World Series in 1945. For those of you who are math challenged, that’s eighteen winning seasons in seventy years, or about one winning season every four years.  In case you don’t follow baseball, that’s not very good.

Second, I’m uncomfortable with the impact these suddenly high expectations are having on some Cubs fans. These fans—primarily those too young to fully understand the soul-crushing nature of Cubs fandom—are talking trash, as if the Cubs have actually accomplished something already. As skipper Joe Maddon so eloquently put it, the Cubs are a defending third-place team. Why all the unbridled optimism?

Listen, my hopes are high for the 2016 edition of the Chicago Cubs, but I’ve been around long enough to have my hopes dashed on the rocks of defeat, disappointment, and despair by the Cubs over and over again. Now, my hopes are tempered with memories of the September swoon of 1969, the unprecedented loss of three straight games to San Diego in the 1984 playoffs, and the Bartman game (It wasn’t Bartman’s fault) of 2003. I was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2003, and the Cubs collapse against the Marlins in the NLCS was still the worst thing that happened to me that year.

All I’m saying is, there’s no harm in being hopeful, but let’s not celebrate quite yet. The baseball season is very long, and a lot of things can happen. Be excited and enthusiastic. Cheer on the team every chance you get. But don’t make plans for the Cubs’ World Series party in ink. Maybe just pencil it into the calendar for now.

With those words of restraint borne of decades of disappointment, here’s how I expect the MLB standings to look at the end of the season:

American League East

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Toronto Blue Jays (1st Wild Card)
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Baltimore Orioles

American League Central

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Kansas City Royals
  3. Cleveland Indians
  4. Chicago White Sox
  5. Minnesota Twins

American League West

  1. Texas Rangers
  2. Houston Astros (2nd Wild Card)
  3. Seattle Mariners
  4. Los Angeles Angels
  5. Oakland Athletics

National League East

  1. Washington Nationals
  2. New York Mets (1st Wild Card)
  3. Miami Marlins
  4. Atlanta Braves
  5. Philadelphia Phillies

National League Central

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates
  4. Cincinnati Reds
  5. Milwaukee Brewers

National League West

  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks (2nd Wild Card)
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. San Diego Padres
  5. Colorado Rockies

Go Cubs!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *